What Does Bankruptcy Cover Medical Bills

What Does Bankruptcy Cover Medical Bills?

Medical bills can be a significant burden for individuals and families, especially considering the rising costs of healthcare. In some cases, these bills can become overwhelming, leading some individuals to consider filing for bankruptcy as a way to alleviate their financial stress. Bankruptcy is a legal process that allows individuals to eliminate or restructure their debts, providing them with a fresh start financially. However, it is essential to understand what bankruptcy covers when it comes to medical bills before deciding to pursue this option. In this article, we will explore the different types of bankruptcy and how they address medical debt, as well as answer some frequently asked questions about bankruptcy and medical bills.

Types of Bankruptcy:

There are primarily two types of bankruptcy that individuals can consider when dealing with medical bills: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

1. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as liquidation bankruptcy, is designed to eliminate most of an individual’s unsecured debts, including medical bills. When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court will appoint a trustee who will sell any non-exempt assets to pay off your creditors. Medical bills are categorized as unsecured debts and are typically discharged at the completion of the bankruptcy process. This means that once your Chapter 7 bankruptcy is finalized, you will no longer be responsible for repaying your medical bills.

2. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:
Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also known as reorganization bankruptcy, involves creating a repayment plan to pay off your debts over a period of three to five years. Under this type of bankruptcy, medical bills are considered unsecured debts and are included in the repayment plan. The court will determine the monthly payment amount based on your income and expenses, and your medical bills will be included in the overall debt repayment plan. While you may not be able to discharge your medical bills entirely, Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides an opportunity to manage your debts and make affordable monthly payments.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Will bankruptcy eliminate all my medical bills?
Bankruptcy can eliminate most, if not all, of your medical bills. However, it is essential to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to determine if your specific circumstances qualify for a discharge.

2. Can I choose between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
The type of bankruptcy you file for depends on several factors, including your income, assets, and the amount of debt you owe. A bankruptcy attorney can assess your situation and advise you on the most appropriate option.

3. Will bankruptcy affect my credit score?
Yes, bankruptcy will have a negative impact on your credit score. However, if you are already struggling to pay off your medical bills, bankruptcy may provide a fresh start and an opportunity to rebuild your credit over time.

4. Can I file for bankruptcy for medical bills only?
Yes, you can file for bankruptcy specifically to address your medical bills. However, it is important to note that bankruptcy will address all your debts, not just medical bills.

5. Will I lose my home or other assets if I file for bankruptcy?
The answer to this question depends on the type of bankruptcy you file and the exemptions available in your state. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, non-exempt assets may be sold to repay your creditors. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can typically keep your assets as long as you make your monthly payments according to the repayment plan.


Bankruptcy can be a viable option for individuals burdened with overwhelming medical bills. Whether you choose Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, both offer opportunities to address and manage your medical debt. Consulting with a bankruptcy attorney is crucial to understanding your options and determining the best course of action for your specific circumstances. Remember, bankruptcy is a significant decision that can have long-term consequences, so it is essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully before proceeding.

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